Thursday, 17 December 2009

David Williams - Genius!

A photographer I adore who explores many themes and ideas that really interest me is David WIlliams. Been drooling over his 1995 series 'Findings...Bittersweet' today. Reading the accompanying essay by James Lawson the following paragraph stood out and was helpful to me in my approach to the archetypes series project i am working on.

"Williams’ evasive photographic method - blurred and often bleached images - allows him to explore the territory of feeling and imagination. It is where matter turns into spirit, the place wandered by German Romanticism. Where things with names turn into pigment and where matter turns into spirit, art can turn into abstract expressionism. Though discoverable by the individual, it is not a private land."

Ori Gersht and exploding flowers

it's not relevant to anything I am doing but how great is this? Ori Gersht freezes bouquets of flowers with liquid nitrogen and then captures them at the moment of explosion. Frozen using a fast frame rate we get to see a visual occurrence that is too fast for the human eye to process and can only be perceived with the aid of photography. Apparently this is what Walter Benjamin called the ‘optical unconsciousness’ in his seminal essay ‘A Short History of Photography’. I find the images poetic, a symbol of love, peace and beauty subverted in an almost violent act.


While doing the essay for Media Technology and public spheres I came across a charity called PhotoVoice, who do amazing work in the field of participatory photography with marginalized groups worldwide. Have signed up for a three day workshop in London in February which I am very excited about. This could evolve into a piece of work for my second project as was thinking about doing a documentary style project with some kind of humanitarian slant. We shall see!!

From their website...."The courses are designed for those who want to learn more about participatory photography methods and participatory photography as a tool for social change. The workshop content will draw on PhotoVoice’s award winning expertise and the extensive learning gained from running participatory photography projects with excluded communities around the world. All training will be delivered by experienced trainers who have worked on PhotoVoice projects".

Friday, 4 December 2009

Georgian Spring by Antoine D'Agata

Inspired by Homer's Odyssey this Magnum Photoessay is just gorgeous on so many levels. I love the juxtaposition of the dreamy, ethereal images of the subjects with the tumbling, gritty, bleak images of the landscape they inhabit. The multi-media approach is a real inspiration for this first project, the voice on the film reads statements gathered from the subjects and other people he met as he travelled across Georgia. They lend a haunting air to the piece that somehow ties the two seemingly disparate worlds together. As my intention is to photograph each subject in both a very 'realist' everyday setting and a way that hopefully captures something of the more mythic dimension of their being, I think the weaving of spoken word through the images could be a very useful device.

Ps...cant embed the photoessay as it only plays half screen if I do so.

Madame Yevonde

I had been researching this intriguing lady who was a well known society portrait photographer in 1930's england, when a visit with the MA group to the National Media Museum in Bradford brought me face to face with some of the images from her beautiful Goddess series. Rich in colour (she was a pioneer of the Vivex tri-colour process) and using props and elaborate costumes, she created an otherwordly aura around her subjects, depicting them as the bride-madonna, allegorical women and even Nefertiti, the famous consort of an egyptian pharaoh. She was interested in the role models available to women and controversially at the time, did not shy away from female sexuality. Researching her has inspired me to look back on classical art and surrealism as further inspiration for this project. Inspiration perhaps is also to be found in her famous dictum "Be Original or Die"!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

The Goal Kneels - Rumi

The inner being of a human being is a jungle.
Sometimes wolves dominate,
sometimes wild hogs.
Be wary when you breathe!

At one moment gentle generous qualities,
like Josephs, pass from one nature to another.
The next moment vicious qualities move in hidden ways;

Wisdom slips for a while into an ox!
A restless, recalcitrant horse suddenly
becomes obedient and smooth-gaited.
A bear begins to dance.
A goal kneels!

Human consciousness goes into a dog,
and that dog becomes a shepherd, or a hunter.
In the Cave of the Seven Sleepers
even the dogs were seekers.

At every moment a new species rises in the chest
now a demon, now an angel, now a wild animal.

There are also those in this amazing jungle
who can absorb you into their own surrender.
If you have to stalk and steal something,
steal from them!